MONEY: ABUSE, MARRIAGE, DIVORCE

The brass buckle flies off the belt as it shatters the blockade of her shaking arms. Every blow is another bite of flesh torn by the beast of his fear screaming, “THIS IS YOUR FAULT, WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?!”

This is the marriage he was always taught to have; a marriage of arid practicality, drenched in the lamentations of so many that failed at it before him. No clouds, no chance for a drop of romance; just a forecast of clotting blood, lining the steel prison walls where he hides her away from the world.

Can you blame him? As a child, observing the matrimony of the gods towering over him, he saw nothing but struggle between their desire and reality. A struggle of quantity, no quality. A struggle of too much, but never enough. He longs for the lost love left somewhere under the mess of his childhood bedroom, but now he’s married to the money and he ain’t ever letting that bitch go.

TO BLAME MONEY FOR BEING EVIL IS LIKE BEATING SOMEONE AND BLAMING THEM FOR NOT LOVING YOU.

Money is not evil. What I do with money has the potential to be. Money can end world hunger just as easily as it can start World War III. Can money buy happiness? 100%. If you know where to shop. However, money isn’t happiness in and of itself.

If the end goal is more money more stuff, the end result, inevitably, is more money more problems. I believe that, deep down, many of us don’t even really want to be rich, but simply look towards it because it’s safer than pursuing the dreams we never take five seconds to glance at. What if I fail? What if I go all in only to be called on my bluff and end up at the mercy of stranger who cares more about his third cappuccino of the day than giving me 50 cents to survive?

Thus, money is often a desire of fear, instead of growth. By blaming money and the “way the world is” my fear has a scapegoat. But if money is the goddess I serve, instead of a resource that serves me, how can I blame the idol I put on a pedestal for not delivering a promise it never actually made?

HONEYMOON

Three days away from college graduation. I’m not shopping in the right places. Actually, I am so broke I am not shopping anywhere. Growing up with only one immigrant parent, stacking was always goal #1, #2, and #3. Deep inside, I knew it wasn’t, but who the hell listens to deep inside anyways? Seeing friends snag dream jobs at Goldman Sachs & JP Morgan, while I’m barely getting past the application portal, sends a tsunami of panic over me. As the wave passes over the next few days, an offer comes in from a Venture Capital firm in Israel.

I pack my bags the next week, write myself a fake check for almost a quarter million dollars, and swear that within a year I would wed this desire to my reality. Within six months the marriage is official. I am running two businesses, and have left the Venture Capital firm for an opportunity I never expected. Oh the honeymoon days.

I could drop one business, I could focus some time on myself, but the stacking is strong within. I make more money, buy more shit, rinse repeat. Never taking the time to discover what happiness (not success) means to me, I assume the definition of the masses. Unfortunately, the masses do the same, so now everyone is crowding the same smelly puddle right next the beautiful ocean of what could be. Oops.

DIVORCE

Nothing matters. A thousand voices tell me what to do, but not one of them my own. People like Steve Jobs and Gary Vaynerchuck seem to live their lives as a sequence of gut “I just know moments,” but most of us ignore ours. I finally stopped ignoring mine. On sheer luck I see an opportunity to leave my job without letting my team down. I shut down the parts of my businesses that cannot be automated and, for the first time in my life, buy happiness. Instead of buying stuff, I buy freedom; Instead of buying a cramped studio in New York City, I buy space; I buy time.

I am finally shopping in the right places.

Holding money hostage behind an ATM pin number is not a desire anymore. I take take care of my body, I take care of my mind, and pull that old dusty self out. Questions of “How do I make more money” are replaced with:

“What would someone that loves themselves do?”
“What would I do if money were no object?” 
“What do I want to give?”

Spiritual self-help mumbo jumbo? Maybe. But only if you are afraid that your ideal version of self love is being homeless, a monk, or a starving artist. Maybe you are afraid you aren’t enough to steer a dream while being able to adequately support yourself? Maybe. But have you tried?

STARTING OVER

I am really grateful for those years of my life, realizing in two years, what could’ve easily taken ten. I am grateful I saved more than I spent. I am grateful for the one that gave me the kick in ass when I needed it, and I am grateful for finally being able to replace the toxic with the cure. Most of all, I am grateful to the money I abused that showed me life was so much more. But despite what I say, I guess it’s like that J.Cole song:

I know that everything that glitters ain’t gold
I know the shit ain’t always good as it seems
But tell me till you get it how could you know?
- Tale of Two Cities. J.Cole

DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN

To be clear, I am not advocating a life of hippie wandering and no possessions. But how much do I need to live right now? 250k? 100k? 30k? Am I willing to move back in my parents? Or, if that’s not an option, share a studio with a crazy cat lady for $400 month? Can I get creative and take a job where the abundance of free time grants me the ability to work on myself? Or am I still praying to the goddess I grew to hate?

I have no doubt that some have sick parents, young children, or other dire responsibilities that require a lot of money now. If you are in this situation, you may not be able to relate to what I am saying. Yet too often I see people handcuffing themselves to unnecessary financial burdens. How many of us have dire obligations versus how many are just growing into dire excuses for gods that will teach their children a marriage they never got quite right.

But isn’t this the way of the world?

Blame the rent. It’s too damn high anyways. Blame the boss. Blame the dog. Blame responsibility. Blame him. Blame her. Blame life. Blame the asshole on the bus I didn’t realize was actually just blind. Blame money. Just don’t blame me. No, never me…